Volunteers catering for a better community

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Volunteers from the Walbundrie Building Committee at their catering shed during last year’s field days.

Hundreds of local volunteers have rolled up their sleeves and served in the catering sheds at the field days over decades, raising money for much needed community projects in the process.

Buckargingah Caterers is named after the creek bordering the field day site and comprises five local organisations rotating through the permanent catering sheds at Henty.

Four of the organisations have been with the field days for 40 years or more – Henty Football Club, St Pauls School, Henty, Walbundrie Building Committee and Culcairn Pool & Community.

St Patrick’s School, Holbrook, joined the group 12 years ago.

Buckargingah Caterers co-ordinator Dot Livermore said committee members spent many hours cleaning and preparing the sheds each year, ordering the ingredients and drawing up a roster of volunteers.

“Without the help of the volunteers it would be impossible to do this,’’ Mrs Livermore said.

“Volunteering enables people to catch up with friends and the opportunity to make new friends.’’

Henty volunteer Felicity Klemke said the field days generated an exciting buzz around the township.

“It is a real privilege to be involved and provide good, hearty country food at one of Australia’s premier events,’’ Mrs Klemke said.

She described St Paul’s Lutheran School as the “little school with the big heart’’, with 55 students.

“The field days is the main fundraiser on the school’s calendar and it’s a great opportunity for St Paul’s to showcase the school and the community it is made up of,’’ Mrs Klemke said.

“St Pauls has been able to provide library resources, science and maths text books, IPads for all children, professionally landscaped gardens, a renovated tuckshop kitchen and refrigerated bubbler.’’

The Henty Netball and Football Club’s catering shed has raised funds for new sports equipment and and renovations to the changerooms.

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The Culcairn Swimming Pool & Community catering shed at the field days has raised much need funds for the town.

The Culcairn Swimming Pool & Community catering shed has been part of the field days for 52 years.

Funds raised have provided a lift for people with a disability or who cannot enter the pool without assistance.

Volunteers from three local groups and a school help out at the Culcairn catering shed, sharing a percentage of the profits.

“This means the money we raise as a group is spread more widely throughout Culcairn,’’ volunteer Mrs Susan Wright said.

“Our meat, bread rolls, pies, sausage rolls, and salad ingredients are all sourced locally.’’

St Patrick’s School, Holbrook, maybe a small school with just 60 students but it provides a strong community effort at the field days.

Volunteer Lea Parker said the community connection was hard to define but went well beyond the physical walls of the school.

“Henty Machinery Field Days is where all this comes to life, when past parents and students, grandparents, aunties, uncles, neighbours and god parents come back to help out,’’ Mrs Parker said.

“The field days allow us to raise funds for our school to keep up to date with technology, including Chrome Books, IPads and laptops or enough for one device per child.

“It also provides an opportunity to promote our school and network with other community organisations.’’

Walbundrie volunteer Neville Habermann said endless hours of fundraising and volunteer labour saw the local vision of an updated sports pavilion became a reality.

Mr Habermann said the food outlet at the field days helped raise funds for the project.

“Although the sports pavilion has been debt free for many years, we are grateful for the opportunity to continue catering at the field days, which allows us to support other community projects,’’ he said.

The projects have included resurfaced netball courts, new play equipment, a solar energy system at the Walbundrie Co-op, outdoor seating at the sports ground, preservation of Walbundrie pioneer cemetery, medical equipment and historical signage for the town.